30 March 2021
UK’s first online fitness charity for people with disabilities celebrates 1stanniversary
It’s exactly a year since Synergy Dance Outreach, a Surrey-based charity providing free dance and yoga classes, took their classes online. Just days after the country went into the first national lockdown, enabling thousands of participants to continue to enjoy their activities.
The sessions, which are free of charge, thanks to funding from Sport England and The National Lottery, have now reached a national audience of up to 200,000 people of all ages with learning difficulties and physical disabilities, as well as the visually impaired and blind.
In total, Synergy Dance Outreach offers 200 online classes which are available on demand via an easily accessible online platform. They are tailored to suit each type of group. The platform includes courses for children, teens, adults and the elderly. They also have 200 online classes for the mainstream community.
The dance and yoga programmes are free for all ages including seated Para Stars Dance™ and ParaStars Yoga®, bespoke classes Synergy Audio Yoga™ and Synergy Audio Dance™ for the visually impaired and additional programmes for autism, cerebral palsy, and those with learning difficulties. The charity recently won the national 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Award with the Sport and Recreation Alliance for their work in reaching the disability community.
A recent survey we conducted amongst our membership found that 78% of people with a disability, including the visually impaired, wouldn’t have exercised without Synergy’s online programme and 94% said they were happier and less anxious after doing the classes. The survey also found 67% of respondents reported an improvement in fitness levels and 92% want to continue the online programme when lockdown ends.
Synergy Dance Outreach now has more than 4,500 people with a disability or are wheelchair based who regularly take part in classes, as well as 3,675 participants with long term health conditions, 2,500 with special needs and autism, more than 450 with Cerebral Palsy and more than 1,500 who are visually impaired or blind.
Founder of Guildford-based Synergy Dance Outreach, Rachael Hurton, said:
“By delivering courses online we are already reaching five times the usual number of participants. In Surrey alone demand for our services has increased by 48% during the pandemic. These classes are clearly filling an unmet need.
“We set up Synergy Dance® Outreach to create positive change, removing barriers to enable people experiencing disadvantage or marginalisation to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing through accessible, inclusive and fun activities.
“We were determined lockdown would not stop us making a difference. Synergy pivoted fast to serve all our children, communities and service users. Within a matter of days into lockdown we launched our first online platform of courses for dance, yoga and meditation with courses for children, teens, adults and the elderly. We now have global interest and people can access our classes anywhere in the world. Now so many more people can join in the fun and improve their physical and mental health through exercise.
“We have come a long way in just 12 months but with sector accounting for 14 million people, there are so many more who we could reach out to.”
For a diverse range of inclusive classes click on:
For Synergy Dance’s mainstream fitness classes click on:
For media enquiries contact Roz Hughes on 07967 800395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Synergy Dance® provide innovative dance and yoga activities in schools and leisure centres, serving both mainstream and the special needs and disability community. At Synergy, no one is left behind.